It is hard to believe that it is almost the end of September, but honestly, I can’t quite tell if that is because it feels like it should be the middle of 2021 by now or that I feel like it was just February. This year, I think it’s a little of both.
With Q4 around the corner, I don’t know about you, but I am seeing the clock-tick on some of my 2020 goals that were put on the back burner when our world flipped upside down in March. While I am holding my breath for the next challenge that 2020 will bring, I am working to reset this quarter and do what we can to end the year strong.
One of those goals was to be in touch, with all of you, more often. While I work to schedule one-on-one zoom appointments or socially distant coffee meetups, I want to also keep you all updated regularly on the work of the chamber in our community. So, I will be sending you all a “Quick Note” (pun intended) every couple of weeks with information on our advocacy and economic development efforts, updates on my meetings with local officials, and insights to the challenges and opportunities I see facing our business community.
My hope is that this can be a conversation. I will keep my notes informal and I may editorialize here or there. I look forward to your feedback and opinions on things that I share, topics that interest you and challenges you are facing. While I strive for excellence, I have yet to achieve perfection. So, I appreciate your grace and advice as I launch in to my fourth year as CEO at the Eugene Chamber and continue to navigate the nuances of representing a wonderfully diverse and dynamic membership.
As I am quickly exceeding my wordcount for a “quick” note I will get on to the updates...
Monday night, the Eugene Chamber attended another “zoom” city council meeting for a marathon testimony night on multiple business issues. We spoke in favor of land use zone changes that will enable a new facility and expansion for Sheppard Motors in East Eugene. We also testified in favor of a modernization to our city sign codes that will allow digital billboards and open up affordable advertising opportunities to businesses across the community. In public hearing number three of the night, we supported moving forward with an RFP to redevelop and build mixed-use housing at 1059 Willamette, the site of the old LCC building. Council will make a final vote on each of these issues in the weeks to come.
This week, we were happy to partner with Bushnell University and childcare providers across the community to relaunch our “Committed to Community” webinar series with presentations on managing your mental health in times of crisis, and childcare solutions for the Fall. If you missed the webinars, you can view them on our Facebook page or on our website here.
Lastly, after an exhausting two weeks of rapid emergency response activities, the Holiday Farm fire containment is slowly improving, and the reality of the long-term impacts are starting to set in. Over the past two weeks the Eugene Chamber has been working closely with regional partners on emergency response activities and coordination. If you answered a call or late-night text from me, one of our staff or someone else in the county with an ask for boxes, food, safety vests, forklifts, storage space or rooms for evacuees — thank you. To our hotels who have pulled off a herculean effort to house nearly 900 evacuees with only hours notice – thank you. To our wood products and timber industry partners who lent staff and equipment and expertise to our public sector partners when you didn’t have to risk your safety or well-being – thank you. Thank you to all of you for stepping up when you were likely already struggling yourself. Every one of you make this community worth fighting for every day.
Next week we are excited to host our 5th annual Young Professionals Summit, virtually, on Tuesday, September 29th. If you have staff that haven’t registered, there is still time to do that here. Additionally, many of our staff will also be attending a 3-day, virtual conference for the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives where we will hear best practices from around the country and talk about what the future of chambers may look like.
If you are like me and are constantly struggling to dig yourself out of an avalanche of emails, and one more email is the last thing you need right now, please let me know and I am happy to take you off the list. No hard feelings. If you know of someone who you think would like this update, let me know and I am happy to include them.
I look forward to continuing this conversation with all of you.